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Journalist receives death threats

(MFWA/IFEX) - Yusupha Cham, a Gambian journalist now based in the United Kingdom, is living in fear after receiving death threats from persons suspected to be agents of the notoriously feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA) of the Gambia.

The senders, in two email messages, claimed Cham has been attacking the administration of President Yahya Jammeh in articles he has been contributing to online Gambian news websites.

Cham, a former reporter of the privately-owned Banjul-based "The Point" newspaper, received a number of email messages within a period of 24 hours warning him to desist from criticizing President Jammeh. The first message from email address [email protected] bearing the name of "Musa Jammeh" was sent to the journalist at about 15:30 hrs GMT on April 1, 2010 and headlined: "We are watching you." Part of that message read: "We members of the Gambian security force, precisely the National Intelligent Agency or NIA have been following and monitoring you with keen interest since you left the country".

An earlier message which came to Cham on March 31 at about 15:23 GMT was entitled: "You are located" and was sent from "Ismaila Sanyang" through [email protected] This message threatened the journalist and his family.

"You have to be extremely careful only if you value your life and that of your family because whoever is found wanting or opposing the ideals of our able President DR. PROFESSOR SHIEKH YAHYA A.J.J. JAMMEH will surely pay the price".

According to Cham, these threats are coming at a time that he has started contributing articles to a number of websites which the agents are claiming to be attacking the government of President Jammeh.

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